Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Foray Into My Kitchen...

Often times I pair food with wine, not the other way around. I suspect most of you do too or you wouldn't be reading this blog.

Tonight is no different, I had a new Pinot Noir I wanted to taste and decided to make something to complement the wine. First, the Pinot. It's new (to me at least) from Trader Joe's. Their VINTJS (get it, vintages?) label is juice they buy from people who need to make room for the next vintage or don't want to dilute their own brands.

Typically the VINTJS wines are good to very good (B to B+ on my scale) and this wasn't any different. From the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I can't say who makes it but it's quite good for $8.99. I would strongly recommend it to Trader Joe's fans. Nice spicy nose, good acid across the palate that's balanced by cherries and hints of raspberry with a back end of mocha and neutral oak. I'll be buying some more myself.

Now for the food!

I wanted to make something for dinner versus ordering Chinese or going to get Mexican or Sushi. Therefore I was limited to whatever I could forage for within my fridge. Tomorrow is shopping day and wasn't in the mood to walk up to Vons for a few items.

What you see in the picture to the left is a majority of the things in my fridge that would fit together somehow. Here's the list:
Heavenly Light cheese
Deli Mustard
Sun-dried tomatoes
Rosemary ham
Willamette Pinot Noir
Heirloom tomato
Foccacia Roll

I layered the ham, cheese, ham, sliced tomato, cheese, and ham on the bottom of the sliced roll. That wee bit of mustard was for a spice element.

For the top half of the roll, I sliced a chunk of garlic up and rubbed it all over the bread, then drizzled some sun-dried tomatoes and their oil onto the top as you see in the picture.

The garlic was then sliced very thinly and I slipped them back into the bottom, between the tomato and cheese slices.

Me frying an egg. I really need to work on my egg-frying. That and slicing things. I want to be one of those people that can slice quickly and consistently, like you see on the Food Network.

Back to eggs. I turned the stove up too high and that scorched the oil, next time I'll remember to turn the heat to slightly below medium. That's one of the things with cooking, you have to keep trying and testing in order to get better.

There's my dinner! Cooking away in a George Foreman grill..I only use my Foreman for a few things but one of those is doing sandwiches. I personally don't think it does beef well at all. Chicken works great, not fish. You can do hot dogs and sausages quickly and easily too.

Fresh out of the foreman, I'm getting excited! The trick is to rotate the sandwich 1/4 turn every 3-4 minutes, so the sandwich should cook for about 15 minutes. Why, you may ask? When you put the sandwich in, the floating hinge of the Foreman can allow it to unevenly cook, leaving a half-melted, half-cold creation. That isn't fun at all.

Quickly now! Pull apart the sandwich, slide the egg in, and reassemble dinner. While the food isn't much to look at, it smelled wonderful. Garlic, toasted bread, and ham wafted through the kitchen.

Now I can only speak for myself in this case, but that looks mighty tasty. The verdict: The sandwich was a winner, very flavorful and texturally appealing. Crunchy, soft, creamy, salty, spicy. My palate enjoyed the experience.

What I'd do differently: 
Cook the sandwich longer
Fry the egg properly
Use a different, creamier cheese like Provolone
Add some more spice

Another food entry is in the books. I had fun creating this quick and easy meal, the total time was about 20 minutes and it filled me up very nicely. This wasn't all I ate though, there was a small salad but honestly, who wants to see pictures of me mixing a salad? I know I don't want to take any pictures of the process, maybe when I make a fancy salad I'll do a blog.

The wine paired quite well, I didn't want something too heavy or sweet. Light, good acid and just enough of that savory ripeness to balance the elements of the sandwich. Yum!

Beau Carufel


  1. Awesome! The candid shot of the "Foreman Squeeze" (complete with juice crying) was fantastic! Now I'm hungry....

  2. Do you know how hard that shot was! I had to take six shots just to get that one. But in the end it was totally worth it.

  3. Love the cooking adventure but duuuuude...what's with all your frying eggs in oil???

    With eggs as in most things in's ALL about the BUTTER.

    Get yourself some FABULOUS butter. Right now I'm enjoying my last bit of Pascal Beillevaire's demi-sel (croquant.

    Then it's on to an Italian butter I picked up at the Fancy Food Show.

    Like the right wine, a great butter will make EVERYTHING better!